New Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino is ready and raring to go after returning to the top flight of English football as the Blues’ fourth manager in just twelve months ahead of what is a 2023-24 Premier League campaign that has been earmarked for an immediate return under the Argentine.
The 51-year-old former fan favorite at both Southampton and Tottenham has taken the reins at Stamford Bridge ahead of a critically important season in the English capital, with Pochettino motivated to hit the ground running despite the challenges ahead.
Pochettino spoke about his happiness at joining the Premier League giants and the trust that he has already placed in the club brass to give him the tools to be competitive from the outset.
“I’m here to win. Not to do a nice job…if you don’t win at a club like Chelsea, you’ll be in trouble”
And trouble certainly found three men before him after the unceremonious sacking of Thomas Tuchel was followed up with a short-lived posting for Graham Potter and a temporary return of club legend Frank Lampard, all of whom played a direct role in the club finishing in the bottom half of the table.
Just like last season, Chelsea has tackled the transfer market aggressively and with a commitment to spend whatever it takes to get the club back on track, but unlike the previous summer, the Blues have been faced with the massive need of trimming the fat around a bloated senior squad in order to recoup funds back into the club coffers while also reducing the wage bill.
As such, the face of the club’s vaunted Cobham Academy, Mason Mount, was one of a number of players sold after he headed off to domestic rivals Manchester United. But for Pochettino, that is none of his concern, and rather, his focus remains on how the club is actively continuing to back improving the first team to put it into a position to immediately challenge under his command.
Another looming question comes in the vein of the situation surrounding Belgiam’s all-time leading goalscorer Romelu Lukaku, who is set to return to the club after his loan with Champions League finalist Inter Milan.
One of a number of high-profile footballers to have received a massive offer from Saudi Arabia this summer, Lukaku instead turned down the lucrative contract but nevertheless likely remains on course to depart this summer, with Pochettino seemingly confirming that indirectly.
“He has to come back July 12/13 to be part of the squad to start pre-season. With all the players that arrive, the first thing that they’re doing is to come to my office and say hello. That’s what I expect if he’s still a Chelsea player”
The Blues not only have a number of young attacking players on the books but also welcome French star Christopher Nkunku and Senegalese international striker Nicolas Jackson to Stamford Bridge from RB Leipzig and Villarreal respectively. Though the Blues are not thought to be in a rush to source a solution surrounding Lukaku, it’s clear that the Belgian will likely not be apart of the club’s plans under Pochettino moving forward.